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Home » Press » NEWS: Legislators Propose Major Overhaul of Alaska’s Code of Military Justice

NEWS: Legislators Propose Major Overhaul of Alaska’s Code of Military Justice

Code Has Not Been Substantially Changed Since 1955

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2015

Juneau – Legislation to overhaul Alaska’s seldom used and outdated Code of Military Justice was introduced today in both the Alaska House and Senate.  A recent non-partisan legislative research report detailed shortcomings in the Alaska Code of Military Justice and found that the leadership of the Alaska National Guard was largely unaware that the Code even existed.  The legislation is sponsored by Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) and Alaska Independent Democratic Coalition Leader Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage).

“The existing code is so outdated that it’s virtually unusable by the Alaska National Guard,” said Rep. Tuck.  “This legislation clarifies the crimes and offenses that fall under the jurisdiction of either military or civilian authorities. Without this update, roles and responsibilities will remain unclear and the performance and integrity of the Alaska National Guard will be jeopardized.”

The proposed changes to the Alaska Code of Military Justice are based on a model for states adopted by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2005.  It clearly outlines the procedures and punishment for actions like desertion, absence without leave, failure to obey orders and dereliction of duty.  The legislation directs that criminal actions of a non-military nature be handled by civilian authorities.

“This session, we heard testimony from multiple members of the Alaska National Guard that Alaska’s Code of Military Justice must be updated,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski.  “Helping to provide a safe and healthy working environment in Alaska’s National Guard should be a top priority for the legislature. I hope our colleagues will join us in working to update the code.”

The proposed changes to the Alaska Code of Military Justice will apply to all Alaska National Guard members while on active state duty.

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